Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Drive Time!

I was tagged by my friend on Twitter, @Katesvie, to take part in a challenge which reveals my 'Ultimate Summer Driving List'.  You can see Kate's here.

Just as a little aside here, Kate also hosts virtual party nights on Mondays and Fridays - simply follow her on Twitter @vpnights.  Each week between 9 and 10pm (UK) you can join her and the other guests - tweet your drink, your nibble and your tune.  I've had some great chats, giggles and banter - a night out when you're staying in!

So ... my driving music.  Not necessarily summer related, but the ones I like to turn up in volume while slapping the wheel in appreciation.

1.  LOVE SHACK by The B52's
You have to sing along, you have to strut your stuff (tricky behind the wheel!).  You just can't stop yourself.

2.  DAYDREAM BELIEVER by the Monkees
Sunny, gorgeous and feelgood.

I once embarrassed myself at son's primary school, singing this quite loudly with the windows open as I parked the car.

4.  BROWN EYED GIRL by Van Morrison
We courted in the good old fashioned way to Van the Man.  Many happy hours were spent in the car listening to him.

5.  MAHNA MAHNA by the Muppets
Ridiculous but was played on every journey we made to Scotland, OVER AND OVER AGAIN - always made us laugh and always got the three of us singing along with dopey grins on our faces.

So there you go - songs I love to hit the roads with.  What would yours be?

I'm tagging here - Twitter buddies @JamieTDougan @michellebetham @ian_wilfred @AmandaNasson1 @donna_trinder

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Mr & Mrs Misfit

Today is my nineteenth wedding anniversary.  Nineteenth?!   How did that happen?  I was sure I only looked nineteen the last time I saw my reflection in the mirror!

So much has changed in those years - and on the other hand so much has stayed the same.

Our love has grown stronger with each (sometimes difficult) day and we’ve been blessed with a very special boy - now a young man, about to turn eighteen and who has done us proud.

Our wedding was a special day, filled with family and friends.  Sadly, many of those who shared our day have passed on or drifted off in one way or another.  It happens.  We need to be grown up about these things and accept them.

But, although times change, I count my blessings every day.  I found my soul-mate, my partner in crime, and every challenge we have thrown at us is met with a smile and a shrug because we know we’ll cope.

While other things may change around me, I know I have my one constant - my best friend and husband.

 The Misfits

 Mummy Misfit and Baby No Name!
(and no, that's not my bum - it's a supporting cushion!)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cover Story - featuring Michelle Betham

Today I'm handing over to my friend and fellow Indie, Michelle Betham, as she'd like to tell us all about an exciting new development on her writing journey.

Michelle writes "books for the beach - pure escapism, total fantasy; mainly (very!) sexy, but sometimes humorous, contemporary romance." 

If you haven't tried her books yet, why not?  Some are girlie, fluffy, funny chicklit and some are pretty hot and steamy - all of them have given me many hours of entertainment and they come highly recommended.

So ... over to Michelle.

"Striker re-launches with a brand new cover!

To mark the imminent release of Extra Time, book two in my sexy soccer trilogy, I’ve decided to re-launch Striker – book one in the series – but this time, with a brand new cover! Why? Well, I have my reasons… Let me explain…
Book covers – an important part of the whole writing process? You bet it is! And when I first started out on this writing journey of mine I don’t think I realised just how important they really are. They’re the first thing a person sees when they’re looking for something new to read, and if that cover doesn’t catch their eye then it’s probably highly unlikely that they’ll stop to check out the blurb. How many potential readers could you lose if the cover of your book doesn’t make them sit up and take notice?
Is this the reason why I decided to change the cover for Striker, my steamy soccer romance? In a way. But it wasn’t actually my idea. I was quite happy with the original cover, you see. I liked it. It reminded me of those Jilly Cooper books I’ve read and loved – you know the ones, Riders, Rivals, Polo… But then my ever-sensitive husband kindly (I use that word loosely, in this case) pointed out that I’m no Jilly Cooper (I kind of knew that already) and that it didn’t really matter what she put on the covers of her books, they’d sell anyway. I don’t have that luxury. My name alone doesn’t sell books, so I need to be able to grab readers’ attention in other ways. And an eye catching cover is one of them. I thought I had one in the original cover for Striker, but, after listening to my husband’s reasons as to why he thought I should change it, I realised he had a point.
The first thing that hit you in the face with the original cover was the image of a football/soccer ball. And if you’re someone who really dislikes football – and, let’s face it, there are many women out there who really dislike the sport, and my books are, predominantly, aimed at women – then that image of a football could, potentially, make people discard the book without even giving the blurb a second look. It could be giving people the complete wrong impression of what the book is actually about. I just didn’t realise that at first.

The original cover
Okay – the book is set against the backdrop of professional football, and the main characters are a footballer, a sports reporter, and a football manager. But – and this is a BIG but – the story is not about the sport itself. If you’re looking for a book about football, then you’re going to be disappointed because Striker is most definitely more about the sex than the soccer. I may be a football fan, but I still couldn’t tell you what the offside rule is, so this story really has very little to do with the sport. It’s a romance – a very sexy, sometimes very steamy romance, but a romance nonetheless. It’s more Footballers’ Wives than Match of the Day, and that’s what I needed to get across on the cover. Was the old one doing that for me? In hindsight, no, I don't think it was. Not really. Am I happy with the new cover? Definitely! I think it gets the feel of the story across a whole lot more, and I think, just from looking at the new cover, you know just what kind of book you’re getting. I’ve playfully dubbed this trilogy “Fifty Shades of Football”,  so that tells you something about the content right there.
Never judge a book by its cover? I’m one who agrees with that old adage, yes. But, in the literal sense, that’s exactly what people do. They judge books by their covers, whether we like that idea or not. And I’m learning, with each new book that I write, just how important a good, eye catching cover can be. Only time will tell whether I’ve made the right choice second time around with Striker."

The brand new, sexy cover.

You can find all of Michelle's books on Amazon or Kobo.
You can follow her on Twitter @michellebetham and read her blog here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Sound of Silence

On Sunday, we saw a band of people get together to create #twittersilence in protest against the spate of abuse, bomb and rape threats directed at female writers, journalists and politicians.

I don't condemn anyone if that was what they chose to do - your Twitter, your opinion, your life, your way of dealing with things.

But it wasn't for me.  I just don't get the idea of being silent.  I don't get what it was hoping to achieve.  Especially as a minute past midnight some of those who had chosen to take part came back with more tales of the above threats.

Doesn't silence mean we're giving into the these sad, lowlife losers who get their kicks from trolling and threatening?  Doesn't silence equal fear?  Isn't that exactly what those people want?

I understand that changes need to be made - no one should be allowed to make another person's life a misery through fear or stalking - I get that.  But this isn't about introducing an 'abuse button' on Twitter - which I think will end up being the most 'abused button' ever.  This is about making sure that threats, lies, hounding and stalking are taken seriously and dealt with swiftly. With Twitter I would imagine that, now they've recruited so many new members of staff, it's a fairly straightforward process but we also need to consider the saddos who make it their life's work on other platforms such as blogs.  Temporary IP addresses (VPM's) need to be denied to private individuals - it's an oversight that will lead to further mischief and abuse.  Why should any honest, decent person need to shroud their internet activities if they have nothing to hide?  Why should that be an option?

I haven't been threatened and I hope I never will but I know what it's like to have someone so wound up by your very existence that they feel they have to keep trying to stick the knife in - where they just don't want to let it lie, move on and get on with their own life.

It's annoying - in the same way as a fly you want to swat or a constant dripping tap - but it's also intriguing.  What have I done to upset my own stalker so much?  What's their real problem with me?  I know it's not someone who knows me in real life - although they like to pretend that they do - so why do they feel that they need to spend so much time on following my every move and condemning me for it?

The facts are these:

*We sent our son to private school - big deal!
*We struggled to keep him there when our circumstances changed but we did it and we're proud.  It was worth every minute of the worry.
*He suffered from school phobia - a very REAL condition - which, with our support,  he overcame.
*He was not bullied - EVER.
*We appeared on 'This Morning' and in 'The Daily Mail' to help other kids - I met with three other families face-to-face and had email contact with many others who thanked us for highlighting this condition.
*I write popular chicklit novels - two of which are based on my observations of certain types of mothers and show them up for what they are, in a tongue and cheek manner. Most of my reviews are 5* - nuff said.
*I made good friends with parents at my son's prep school and his secondary school.  The decent ones!
*I am a size 38C bust and I wear size 12 jeans - I'm not fat or skinny.  I am most definitely not 'corpulent'!
*I eat chocolate and crisps!  Who doesn't?  Unless of course you're a lettuce leaf sniffer as featured in the Mummy Misfit books.
*I smoke - disgusting but true.  Not a cheap brand though - cos I ain't a cheap kinda gal!
*My kitchen is painted in 'Tapestry Thread' - a period colour. Not nicotine or menstrual.
*My family - those close to me - and my friends, are incredibly proud of me.  I don't embarrass anyone. It's far worse to go around leaving 'anon' comments on blogs - does my stalker proudly tell their family and friends what they've done? Being a writer is a massive achievement - being an anonymous bully is not.
* I am very happily married - I love, live with and laugh with my soul mate. I count my lucky stars every single day that I'm married to such a wonderful man.

So that's me, in a nutshell.  The me that drives someone nuts!  They've been reported and I will track them down and shut them up.  I don't publish their comments on my blog any more because that would give a voice to their lies.  But I always respond to them.

Because, in short, I won't be silenced.